GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s the last place you’d expect to see a Pro Bowl linebacker, running with the second team defense and listed third string on the depth chart.
You do expect to see a Pro Bowl linebacker making plays, like Daryl Washington has done in recent days, including a spectacular one-handed interception during the Red & White practice Saturday.
“He wanted to put on a show,” linebackers coach Mike Caldwell said. “He comes to work every day and does that. He wants to get better.”
Washington, for all his success on the field (he led the team with 140 tackles and nine sacks last season), is dealing with two separate issues off the field.
In April, he was suspended the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
A month later, he was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident involving his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of his baby daughter. The case is pending and Washington was in court Tuesday morning.
“He’s been real positive,” Caldwell said. “He understands that he has a situation to go through and that will take care of itself. He just has to be ready to put in the work, which he’s doing; and when he is able to play, be ready to go.”
Because he’ll miss the first month of the season (and perhaps longer should the league act on his arrest), Washington has lost his job as starting inside linebacker.
“It’s no different than running with the ones,” he said of working with the second unit. “I think we’re all still getting the same amount of reps. My attitude is positive. I’ll just be ready to go when I come back; hopefully it’ll be sooner than later. I’ll be ready to go.
“It doesn’t bother me because I understand the situation. Not blaming anyone but myself. I take on the responsibility. But when I come back, I’ll have to just prove myself all over again.”
Said head coach Bruce Arians, “I think he knows his mistakes. I’m fine with where he’s at right now.”
And right now, Washington is behind Karlos Dansby and Reggie Walker, according to the release of the team’s initial depth chart.
“I’m a pretty strong person,” said Washington, who is expected to see greater reps in the preseason. “I always try to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive. I think at the end it’s going to make me a stronger person, overall.”